Amanda LaGrange dumped the title “Tech Dump.”
When the CEO of the nonprofit Tech Dump, a St. Paul-based collector and recycler of used, obsolete and damaged electronics, decided to open a new retail store to sell them, she figured “Tech Discounts” would be more enticing.
“We’d been selling refurbs for years in a corner of our Golden Valley warehouse, but when we decided to get serious about it, we rebranded,” she said.
Getting serious means that the new Tech Discounts store in Bloomington operates strictly as a store. The two locations in Golden Valley and St. Paul will continue to use the Tech Dump name for collection, recycling, repairing and refurbishing. The Bloomington location and the store within the Golden Valley facility are called Tech Discounts.
By recycling and reselling used electronics for 50 to 75 percent less than new, the company has kept more than 75 million pounds of electronics out of the waste stream. Fifteen percent of that amount is refurbished.
Tech Dump is one of more than 270 electronics recyclers in Minnesota, but it is in rare company selling used electronics.
Device Pitstop, a for-profit franchised business owned by the same company that franchises Clothes Mentor, debuted last year in the Twin Cities. It now has locations in Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Maplewood and Minnetonka with plans to expand in Woodbury and Edina next year.
“Our store revenue is up 20 percent over 2015,” said Michael D. Smith, vice president of operations. “There’s always been resistance buying used electronics so people need assurance the product will work.”
Device Pitstop offers a 30-day warranty and just instituted an optional recurring warranty for $3.99 to $9.99 a month. Tech Discounts will repair or replace any item that fails within six months. Customers can get a refund for any reason within 30 days.
Giving consumers confidence to buy used, LaGrange hopes Tech Discounts can expand its Twin Cities presence to five locations. Another reason that used electronics retail stores are popping up is the collapse in commodity prices for metals, plastics and aluminum.
Besides selling used electronics at the Bloomington and Golden Valley locations, Tech Discounts will also do repairs and accept electronics donations.
It is a Microsoft registered repair shop that uses R2 certification for data destruction and compliant with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Defense.
General Manager Brian Bernhardt expects laptops and any Apple product to be best sellers. In a sampling of used products this week, the store had a 55-inch Samsung plasma TV for $599, a 13-inch MacBook Pro with 8GB memory, retina display and last year’s operating system for $999, a Dell desktop tower with Windows 7 Pro for $219 and an iPhone 6 Plus for $349.
Tech Dump and Tech Discounts operate under the umbrella of the Jobs Foundation, a nonprofit started in 2010 to employ adults with barriers to employment. Last year the foundation, which is 98 percent self-funded, employed 68 adults who had been incarcerated or treated for chemical dependency.